Survey: Charter amendment may deepen society rift


BANGKOK, Jan 22 – More than half of Thais polled fear any attempt to amend the country’s constitution might lead to further conflict in society, while 81 percent are against any coup attempt to topple the Pheu Thai-led government, according to a survey released on Sunday.

The ABAC Poll was conducted by Assumption University among 2,153 people by random sampling in 17 provinces, including the capital Bangkok, between Jan 15-21 regarding the public’s view towards the country’s sensitive political issues and power seizure.

Of those surveyed, 54.5 per cent believed that the constitution amendment might cause further rifts among the people, while 51 percent were concerned about the push for revision of the lese majeste law concerning the monarchy.

Another 49.6 per cent said nepotism among government politicians while 37.7 per cent indicated the government’s decision to compensate political protest victims at a different rate than those security officials operating in the insurgency-plagued southern border region as factors for societal rifts. Another 34.1 percent said the problem was the recent cabinet reshuffle bringing tarnished appointees into office.

Regarding their opinions on government performance over six months, a clear majority of those polled, or 80.1 percent, saw a poor record for the Pheu Thai-lead administration of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra when tackling the country’s economic problems, in particular the rising costs of living and the energy price hike.

However, 76.3 percent acknowledged the government’s outstanding work in fighting against illegal drugs. In addition, 75.6 percent said they did not see any progress by the government in solving the country’s deep divisions.

Another key issue of the survey was public opinion on a coup attempt, it found that a majority of those polled or 81.7 percent are against another coup to topple the government, down from 94.6 percent in the previous survey on January, 2010, with the number of coup supporters rising from 5.4 percent in the last poll to 18.3 percent.

Furthermore, 21.1 percent said they would come out in force to oppose a coup, but 52.7 percent stated otherwise, saying they would likely do nothing. The remaining 26.2 percent expressed no opinion on the issue.

The survey’s margin of error was indicated as plus or minus 7 percent.